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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

July 15, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Toursgallery has organised a small-group tour that will visit 10 different gardens in Japan at the peak of cherry blossom time in April next year.

Prices start at $10,850 per person twin-share, including a private charter coach, superior accommodation and traditional Japanese banquet dinners.

The gardens cover five climatic zones, with the tour including the serene Ryoanji Stone Garden, Ritsurin and Korakuen, Kinkakuji with its much photographed Golden Pavilion, as well as Rikugien and Hama Rikyu in Tokyo.

Also included are visits to four of Japan’s most outstanding art galleries.

Phone 1300 307 317 or visit

Memphis’s Lorraine Motel …  now the National Civil Rights Museum.

Memphis, renowned as the birthplace of rock ’n’ roll and also widely regarded as a city with pivotal ties to the American Civil Rights movement, is planning to honour two major pioneers during milestone anniversaries this year and next.

Australians have for years been packing their blue suede shoes and heading to Elvis Presley’s famed Memphis mansion, Graceland, and there will be a particular surge around August 16 this year, the fortieth anniversary of the great singer’s death.

Events on the calendar for Elvis Week, from August 11-19, include appearances by celebrities and musicians, the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Finals, a fan club conference, and a signature live-music event featuring a symphony orchestra on stage. A candlelight vigil will begin on Tuesday, August 15, at 8:30pm at the gates of Graceland and continue well into the morning of August 16.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination, on April 4, of Dr Martin Luther King in Memphis’s Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum.

The museum chronicles the American Civil Rights movement, with exhibits showcasing several hundred artifacts and interactive media displays covering five centuries, from slavery to the Civil War to modern-day issues.


Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort … celebrating its half-century of welcoming visitors.

To celebrate its half-century of welcoming visitors, Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort is offering guests a $50 resort credit if they book a stay of five nights or longer.

Bookings must be made by August 22 for travel until December 15.

The resort credit can be used for dining, spa or in-room purchases.

Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort offers weekly cultural and educational activities and Signature Experiences, including a beachside Hawaiian-inspired vow-renewal ceremony, lei making, ukulele lessons, canoe carving and painting displays.


 China’s famous Terracotta Warriors.

Cruise 1st has organised a 16-night fly-stay-and-cruise package from Singapore to Tianjin (Beijing) next April using Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas.

The deal is priced from $2799 per person twin-share ex Sydney ($2699 ex Melbourne, $2899 ex Brisbane, $2999 ex Adelaide, $3099 ex Canberra, and $2799 ex Perth), including two nights of pre-cruise accommodation in Singapore.

Ports of call include Ho Chi Minh City and Hue/Danang in Vietnam, Hong Kong and Seoul, South Korea.

Ovation of the Seas Ovation provides 18 restaurant options, and high-speed internet.

Phone 1300 596 345 or visit

 A trio of Queens … Queen Elizabeth leads Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2. reckons it is merely responding to public pressure by organising a 38-night ‘Three Queens’ package next year, combining a seven-night New-York-to-London cruise on Queen Mary 2, a United Kingdom cruise on Queen Elizabeth, and a 14-night cruise around the Norwegian fjords on board Queen Victoria.

The package is priced from $13,499 per person twin-share ex Australia, including first-class hotel accommodation in New York, London and Paris, all transfers and sightseeing passes, port charges and government taxes.

There are plenty of sea days to experience the quality Cunard service and the ships’ renowned facilities such as the gourmet meals, 24-hour complimentary room service, world-class entertainment and on-board educational programs.

Phone 1300 369 848 or visit

 L’Austral at Lizard Island … Image: Eva Robert.

Cruiseco is offering travellers the opportunity to pay half-price for a companion’s fare on a 40-night circumnavigation of Australia, departing Sydney on 25 January on board Ponant’s L’Austral.

The offer is also available on the shorter 14-night Sydney-Fremantle and 26-night Fremantle-Sydney sectors.

Itinerary highlights include visits to Tasmania’s Wineglass Bay, Victoria’s Port Campbell, South Australia’s Port Lincoln, Western Australia’s Turquoise Bay, the Northern Territory’s Yirrkala, and Queensland’s Lizard Island.

Prices for the 40-night cruise are from $29,900 for the first passenger and $14,950 for the companion, based on twin-share or double occupancy in a deluxe stateroom.

Fares include all meals onboard, 24-hour room service, beverages such as house wines, beers and non-premium spirits, a specialist expedition crew and zodiac tours.

Phone (02) 9492 8520 or visit

The Sydney Opera House … the choice spot on New Year’s Eve.

Have a spare $1399 per head and looking for something to do on New Year’s Eve?

I doubt that it comes any better than dinner, choice of performances, and ringside seats to the fireworks, when Opera Australia takes over the Sydney Opera House.

That price includes a three-course pre-performance dinner designed by Matt Moran, tickets to either The Merry Widow or a gala concert of popular arias, and entry to the exclusive Midnight Party, with its uninterrupted view of the fireworks.

Separate dinner and party packages are also available for $399 and $329 per head respectively.

Phone (02) 9318 8200 or visit

The Retreat Port Stephens … nestled in bushland nest to Australia’s largest sand dunes.

Save 25 per cent on a three-night winter package at The Retreat Port Stephens, two-and-a-half hours north of Sydney.

Pay $350 per couple, including accommodation in a bush-hideaway cabin, a $25 voucher for each person to spend on craft beer, wine and food at nearby Murray’s Craft Brewery, and a $15 voucher per person to use for breakfast or lunch at Crest Birubi Beach, an eatery boasting spectacular vistas over the ocean and passing whales.

The package is valid for bookings made by July 31, and for stays on weekends or midweek up to September 29.

The Retreat Port Stephens is nestled in bushland next to Australia’s largest sand dunes.

Phone 02 4982 1244 or visit

 Emporium Hotel … marking a decade with a ‘Signature Sips’ package.

Brisbane’s Emporium Hotel is marketing a $100 ‘Signature Sips’ package as an add-on to its normal room rates.

The package features four cocktails of choice from the 10th Anniversary Cocktail Menu, seasonal tapas board, a reserved spot in the Cocktail Bar, late checkout and valet parking, and is available until December 31.

The cocktail menu features creations such as the Ginger Geisha, Rouge Lips, Queensland Mule and Passionfruit Chi Chi.


 Welcoming the whales … North Stradbroke Island is a great spot to see these gracious mammals.

Queensland’s North Stradbroke Island — or ‘North Straddie’ as the locals refer to it — is one of the premier locations to view whales as they migrate up Australia’s east coast during winter, and its Quandamooka Festival will showcase their arrival with a weekend of traditional ceremonies, music, dance and interpretive tours on July 28-29.

The Yura Yalingbila (Welcome the Whales) weekend starts with the official welcoming ceremony and festival on Saturday 29 July from 11am to 3pm at Headland Park on Point Lookout.

Unlike with most whale-watching experiences, visitors to North Straddie only need to stroll to the headlands at this time of year to see humpback whales breaching, dolphins riding the waves, and turtles and manta rays cruising through the waters.

The festival is free to enter and will include traditional dance, arts, weaving, workshops, kids activities, food stalls, sand art and live music by Neil Murray (co-composer of My Island Home) and local female duo Blacksalt.

This year, for the first time, Yura Yalingbila will include the Quandamooka Festival Gala Dinner Experience. Set on a cliff top location ideally situated to view the whales, the all-inclusive fine-dining evening will start with canapes and sparkling wine overlooking an ocean sunset, followed by a cultural dance performance and then an Australian bushfood-inspired three-course meal, accompanied by quality wines and music from a string quartet.


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